According to the FBI, one case of rape occurs every seven minutes in the United States. Each year, about 90,000 cases are reported to police, but it is estimated that almost 90 percent of all rapes and attempted rapes are never reported.
The assumption that ‘sexual harrassment won’t happen to me’ is often taken for granted.
It seems a poor reassurance when compared to the statistics, especially since one out of three women can expect to be sexually harassed in her lifetime, especially for those who live in dorms or college communities.
Fortunately, the Rape Aggression Defense Systems, or R.A.D. program, offers self-defense and assault prevention courses that UCI women are urged to take advantage of. These classes were offered at the Anteater Recreation Center on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1. A final session will be held Nov. 8.
According to course instructor, officer Andrew Lopez, the R.A.D. program is empowering for women.
‘The program teaches women how to defend themselves against abduction and against sexual assault,’ Lopez said.
R.A.D. was established in 1989 through extensive research on basic martial arts moves and aggression-prevention techniques. The program was founded by ex-Marine Larry Nadeau, whose philosophy on self-defense is now nationally recognized.
It is common in most major universities and was introduced on campus through the UCI Police Department in 2002.
Lopez said that though Irvine is safer than most cities throughout the country, no city or campus is immune to violent crime, adding that many assaults go unreported.
He also says a high percentage of sexual predators are acquaintances of the victim, so it is important for women to be mindful and cautious in all types of situations, even if it seems that they are in the presence of trustworthy people.
What makes the program unique is that it combines physical training with factual information.
‘The program not only teaches them how to defend themselves physically, but also teaches women how to prevent themselves from becoming victims, by education,’ Lopez said.
Sorry girls, but Wonder Woman’s wrists bands aren’t going to magically appear during an attack. However, there are many vulnerable places on the male body that cannot be strengthened, and with education, which is 90 percent of self defense, the smallest girl could even take down governor Arnold with ease. The course teaches women about these weak points and how to most effectively utilize them.
‘A lot of women tend to think that they cannot defend themselves against a man,’ Lopez said. ‘It is not as difficult as women think.’
The course teaches women everything from avoiding uncomfortable dating situations to securing their houses and escaping attempted ATM robberies.
All the tactics in the course are not fool-proof because in the end it comes down to whether or not the victim decides to challenge her aggressor.
‘What we teach gives women options to let them know that they don’t have to go limp and let themselves be attacked,’ Lopez said.
He highly encourages any woman interested in her personal safety to participate.
First-year biological sciences major Shaheena Bielman attended the first of the three introductory R.A.D. courses.
‘I think self defense is good to know because of the world we live in,’ Bielman said. ‘The moves are basic and usable.’
Other R.A.D. students shared Bielman’s sentiments.
‘Even though I’m a pacifist I still believe in a woman’s right to kick ass,’ said fourth-year sociology major Charlie Marley. ‘R.A.D. provides an easy and fun way of learning self-defense strategies which is why I think the course is rad.’
Perhaps the most reassurance for girls against violent crime can be summed up in the sound words of Susan B. Anthony, ‘Woman must not depend on the protection of man but must be taught to defend herself.’
Currently the program is being offered to women and children only, but a course for men will be offered in the near future. There are also courses specializing in the use of aerosol and keychain defense available.
The youth program (or radKIDs) teaches children as young as five different safety methods that would help them escape abduction, attack or sexual assault. It provides practical knowledge on how to ‘recognize, avoid, and escape’ dangerous situations. Founded in 1998, radKIDS is now offered on various college campuses, several county sheriff offices and even through Girl Scout programs.
You don’t have to live in fear anymore. Protect yourself!
More information on radKIDS can be found at www.radkids.org. To learn more about the program, visit the UC Irvine Police web site at www.police.uci.edu. To view demonstrations of
self defense moves, visit